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The herald who made the announcement simply stated what everyone knew was a fact of life in the new nation of Babylon. The nation was a multi-cultural society with Assyrians, Hittites, Hurrians, Medes, Chaldeans, Babylonians, and Jews. And there were other cultures, nations, and languages as well. The people of this new nation had more than 200 gods that they worshiped and followed. So the king’s goal was pretty clear: Bring this multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-language society to a new national reality and to a new world order.
Nebuchadnezzar’s national reality and new world order would be that each person would worship the one god, the golden image, as well as their own personal gods. The golden image wasn’t given a name, so everyone could in their own minds believe whatever they wanted. The golden image would signify that everyone worshiped the same god but only with different names. The king knew, of course, that the people would continue to worship the five to six gods they already had, but that was OK! Just as long as they also worshiped the golden image.
And so, all those of importance were assembled on the plain. The king’s high officials were there, but they weren’t asked to worship. Nebuchadnezzar’s high officials, including Daniel, were men that the king could trust. He knew from having had worked with Daniel closely about his strong faith and his rock-solid conviction in the God of Israel. Daniel wouldn’t bow, no matter what! The king knew the political realities and loyalties. But if Daniel’s friends worshiped the golden image, it would still have the same effect of supporting the one national god regardless.
The national worship service music began. All the people bowed down in front of the image except for three men: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. What an outrage! What an insult! How politically incorrect! The king couldn’t overlook something like that! But he did give the three one more chance to comply.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have rationalized. They could have said, well, just this once. This is
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